Reflections on LOST: Karma and Grace


This post is fifth in a series on my lingering thoughts on the finale of the TV show LOST.

If you looked carefully at the World Religions Chart in my last post, you might have noticed this: Each religion has their own take on what humans must do to achieve happiness and fulfillment in the next life. Empty yourself. Submit to God. Obey the laws. Achieve harmony.

Every religion except one.

U2 lead singer Bono, in an interview with Michka Assayas, puts it this way:

BONO: It’s a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people. But the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma.

ASSAYAS: What do you mean?

BONO: You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics—in physical laws—every action is met by an equal and opposite one. It’s clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I’m absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that “as you reap, so you will sow” stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff.

ASSAYAS: I’d be interested to hear that.

BONO: That’s between me and God. But I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I’d be in deep s—. It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for Grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity.**

Christianity is the only religion whose central figure—knowing his followers will never be worthy enough to earn heaven—lays down his life so he can give it to them.

In the LOST finale, when Jack went to The Source to turn it back on, knowing he would die, but also knowing it was the only way to save his friends, that was a picture of Jesus Christ. Jack’s passing of the mantle to Hurley before he willingly went to his death was reminiscent of Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples. He was pierced in the side of his abdomen, just like Christ on the cross.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

“God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Jesus loves you so much he died for you, so He could spend eternity with you. Do you know Him?

**Excerpted from the book, Bono in Conversation with Michka Assayas. (Riverhead Books, 2005).

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